Lake effect snow continues to fall downwind of Lakes Ontario and Erie today and Thursday, adding a few inches of snow on top of what fell during yesterday’s storm. Below average temperatures chill the East coast, from ME to FL, until the end of the week. Finally, more snow and freezing rain for the Northern Plains comes as unsettled weather continues across the country.

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of your Morning Briefing. Let’s begin.

Lake Effect Snow Downwind of Lakes Ontario and Erie Today and Thursday:

  1. Shots of cold air across Lakes Ontario and Erie will be the cause of lake effect snow as it falls downwind today and most of Thursday.
  2. 2-6″ is expected throughout the region, but higher totals up to 10 or 12″ is possible over higher elevations in the Appalachians and Adirondacks.
  3. Snow will likely be light before ending Thursday evening, when high pressure dominates aloft over the region once again.

Yesterday’s storm dropped more than a few inches of snow over most of NY and New England. That system thankfully moved offshore last night. However, another surface low that has strengthened over the last few days continues to move northeastward and is now currently sitting over ME. Flow around this system is the cause of cold Canadian air sweeping across the Great Lakes, causing what many people know as “lake effect” snow. Snow will fall downwind of Lakes Ontario and Erie, across upstate NY, NW PA, and even Southern VT. In most areas, 2-6″ is expected to fall over the next two days, however, over higher elevations like in the northern Appalachians and Adirondacks, up to 10 or 12″ is possible. This snow will generally be light and come in bouts as it develops and blows off of the lakes. The snow will end Thursday evening, as flow over the Northeast changes from low pressure to higher pressure.

Chilly Below Average Temps Up and Down the East Coast:

  1. Temperatures across the eastern half of the US will be well below average for the second half of this week. The current jet pattern allows cold, Canadian air to make its way further south than usual.
  2. Temperatures will generally be 5-10 degrees below average. This cold anomaly will be more pronounced in the Southeast, with parts of WV, VA, and TN seeing up to 20 degrees below average.
  3. Colder temperatures should usher out by Friday, with a new jet pattern ready to take place. Below average temperatures will hold on a little longer further south, leaving the SE with a chilly start to December.

Unsettled weather over the eastern half of the country during the beginning of the week has ushered in cold, polar air from Canada. Every week, we are getting closer and closer to winter, and temperatures are reflecting that. Temperatures up and down the East coast are below average, and will likely remain so until Friday. The current low-latitude polar jet allows flow from Canada to be brought down to the southeast US. Even FL is feeling a chill this morning with temperatures in the 50s. That’s 5-10 degrees below average for FL. This cold temperature anomaly will continue to be pronounced, especially in the Southeast, until Friday when high pressure changes the current jet pattern. Until then, temperatures can be up to 20 degrees below average for this time of the year. This will close out November in the exact way we will remember it: unseasonably cold.

Snow and Freezing Rain in the Northern Plains Today:

  1. Snow, freezing rain, and sleet can be expected in the Northern Plains today. Precip will begin as light snow towards the east, and freezing rain/sleet towards the west.
  2. With more warm air moving into the area, precip will likely turn almost completely to freezing rain in SD. Snow accumulations are expected to only be about an inch, but any ice accumulations will make roads extremely hazardous.
  3. By tomorrow morning, this system will have switched back to almost all snowy precip, and it will have moved over to the Upper Midwest.

As another low pressure system dips down from Canada, it brings more precipitation to the Northern Plains today. Squished between warm and cold temperatures, precipitation with this storm is expected to be light but mixed with dangerous freezing rain. North and South Dakota will see light snowfall towards the east, with accumulations as little as an inch. The main concern with this storm will be the freezing rain and sleet associated with it. In South Dakota, even out east, snow is expected to change to freezing rain later today. This will give way to dangerously slippery, icy roads and cause hazards during travel. This system will then move into the Upper Midwest by tomorrow morning, although precipitation will have switched back over to mostly snow in colder temperatures.

Make sure to subscribe to The Morning Briefing on the right-hand side of this article so we can send the Wednesday and Friday editions straight to your inbox.

Also remember to lookout for The Sunday Storm this upcoming Sunday evening as well as Five Things to Watch This Week on Monday.


Kathleen is a writer and meteorological consultant at WeatherOptics. A recent graduate from Stony Brook University, Kathleen has earned her B.S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. Previously, she has done research on the role of Atmospheric Rivers on Arctic Amplification and forecasted for local pages like SBU Weather.

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